1-4-501. Only eligible electors eligible for office
Overview of Statute
Only eligible electors who are at least eighteen years old are eligible to hold any office in Colorado. Candidates also must fully meet the qualifications of the office for which they are running as stated by the constitution and statutes of Colorado on or before the beginning of the term of office. Candidates must swear or affirm under oath that they meet the qualifications, and must provide proof they meet any registration, evidence, or property ownership requirements of the office. Additionally, no person can run for more than one office at a time, though this rule does not apply to memberships on different special district boards.
Any eligible elector has a right to challenge the qualifications of any candidate within five days of the certification of candidacy. In the event of a challenge, a hearing to determine the eligibility will be held between five and ten days after certification. A decision will be made within 48 hours of this hearing. The provisions of C.R.S. § 13-17-101 governing frivolous, groundless, or vexatious actions apply to such challenges.
(1) No person except an eligible elector who is at least eighteen years of age, unless another age is required by law, is eligible to hold any office in this state. No person is eligible to be a designee or candidate for office unless that person fully meets the qualifications of that office as stated in the constitution and statutes of this state on or before the date the term of that office begins. The designated election official shall not certify the name of any designee or candidate who fails to swear or affirm under oath that he or she will fully meet the qualifications of the office if elected and who is unable to provide proof that he or she meets any requirements of the office relating to registration, residence, or property ownership. The information found on the person’s voter registration record is admissible as prima facie evidence of compliance with this section.
(2) No person is eligible to be a candidate for more than one office at one time; except that this subsection (2) does not apply to memberships on different special district boards. This subsection (2) shall not prohibit a candidate or elected official of any political subdivision from being a candidate or member of the board of directors of any special district or districts in which he or she is an eligible elector, unless otherwise prohibited by law.
(3) The qualification of any candidate may be challenged by an eligible elector of the political subdivision within five days after the designated election official’s statement is issued that certifies the candidate to the ballot. The challenge shall be made by verified petition setting forth the facts alleged concerning the qualification of the candidate and shall be filed in the district court in the county in which the political subdivision is located. The hearing on the qualification of the candidate shall be held in not less than five nor more than ten days after the date the election official’s statement is issued that certifies the candidate to the ballot. The court shall hear the testimony and other evidence and, within forty-eight hours after the close of the hearing, determine whether the candidate meets the qualifications for the office for which the candidate has declared. Provisions of section 13-17-101, C.R.S., regarding frivolous, groundless, or vexatious actions shall apply to this section.
Source: L. 92: Entire part R&RE, p. 677, § 5, effective January 1, 1993. L. 94: (2) amended, p.1153, § 12, effective July 1. L. 95: Entire section amended, p. 829, § 27, effective July 1. L. 2017: (1) amended, (SB 17-209), ch. 234, p. 946, § 1, effective August 9.
Editor’s note: (1) This section is similar to former § 1-4-501 as it existed prior to 1992. (2) Section 13 of chapter 234 (SB 17-209), Session Laws of Colorado 2017, provides that the act changing this section applies to elections conducted on or after August 9, 2017.
Cross references: For electors only eligible to office, see also § 6 of art. VII, Colo. Const.; for disqualifications from holding office of trust or profit, see § 4 of art. XII, Colo. Const.
Cross references: For school elections, see articles 30, 31, and 42 of title 22; for elections for removal of county seats, see article 8 of title 30; for municipal elections, see article 10 of title 31; for special district elections, see part 8 of article 1 of title 32; for exemption of certain statutory proceedings from the rules of civil procedure, see C.R.C.P. 81; for recall from office, see article XXI of the state constitution; for recall of state and county officers, see part 1 of article 12 of this title; for recall of municipal officers, see part 5 of article 4 of title 31; for recall of directors of special districts, see § § 32-1-906, 32-1-907.
Editor’s note: Articles 1 to 13 were repealed and reenacted in 1980. This article was numbered as articles 10 and 11 of chapter 49, C.R.S. 1963. For additional historical information concerning the repeal and reenactment of articles 1 to 13 of this title in 1980, see the editor’s note immediately following the title heading for this title.
Cross references: For election offenses relating to access to ballot by candidates, see part 4 of article 13 of this title.
Annotator’s note. The following annotations include cases decided under former provisions similar to this section.
Holding that one obtaining office illegally, guilty only of misdemeanor, not disqualified. People ex rel. Thomas v. Goddard, 8 Colo. 432, 7 P. 301 (1885).
Holding that the section does not conflict with § 4 of art. V, Colo. Const. Romero v. Sandoval, 685 P.2d 772 (Colo. 1984).
Holding that compliance with residency requirements can be proven by means other than the voter registration page. Romero v. Sandoval, 685 P.2d 772 (Colo. 1984).
Colo. Const., Article VII, section 6, provides that, “No person except a qualified elector shall be elected or appointed to any civil or military office in the state”.
Colo. Const., Article IV, section 4, states qualifications for state officers.
See also the definition of “elector” in section 1-1-104 (12).
1. Definition for Political subdivision
A governing subdivision of the state, including counties, municipalities, school districts, and special districts. C.R.S. § 1-7.5-103.
2. Definition for Designated election official
The secretary of state, a county clerk and recorder, or other election official as provided by article XXI of the state constitution. C.R.S. § 1-12-100.5.
3. Definition for State
A state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. C.R.S. § 1-8.3-102.
4. Definition for Title
A brief statement that fairly and accurately represents the true intent and meaning of the proposed text of the initiative.
5. Definition for Ballot
(a) A federal write-in absentee ballot;
(b) A ballot specifically prepared or distributed for use by a covered voter in accordance with this article; or
(c) A ballot cast by a covered voter in accordance with this article.
(2) “Covered voter” means:
(a) A uniformed-service voter defined in paragraph (a) of subsection (9) of this section who is a resident of this state but who is absent from this state by reason of active duty and who otherwise satisfies this state’s voter eligibility requirements;
(b) An overseas voter who, before leaving the United States, was last eligible to vote in this state and, except for a state residency requirement, otherwise satisfies this state’s voter eligibility requirements;
(c) An overseas voter who, before leaving the United States, would have been last eligible to vote in this state had the voter then been of voting age and, except for a state residency requirement, otherwise satisfies this state’s voter eligibility requirements; or
(d) An overseas voter who was born outside the United States, is not described in paragraph (b) or (c) of this subsection (2), and, except for a state residency requirement, otherwise satisfies this state’s voter eligibility requirements if the last place where a parent, legal guardian, spouse, or civil union partner of the voter was, or under this article would have been, eligible to vote before leaving the United States is within this state.
C.R.S. § 1-8.3-102.
6. Definition for Person
Any natural person, partnership, committee, association, corporation, labor organization, political party, or other organization or group of persons. Section 2(11) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.
7. Definition for Section
A bound compilation of initiative forms approved by the secretary of state, which shall include pages that contain the warning required by section 1-40-110 (1), the ballot title, the abstract required by section 1-40-110 (3), and a copy of the proposed measure; succeeding pages that contain the warning, the ballot title, and ruled lines numbered consecutively for registered electors’ signatures; and a final page that contains the affidavit required by section 1-40-111 (2). Each section shall be consecutively prenumbered by the petitioner prior to circulation.
8. Definition for Election
Any election under the “Uniform Election Code of 1992” or the “Colorado Municipal Election Code of 1965”, article 10 of title 31, C.R.S. C.R.S. § 1-7.5-103.
9. Definition for Candidate
Any person who seeks nomination or election to any state or local public office that is to be voted on in this state at any primary election, general election, school district election, special district election, or municipal election. “Candidate” also includes a judge or justice of any court of record who seeks to be retained in office pursuant to the provisions of section 25 of article VI. A person is a candidate for election if the person has publicly announced an intention to seek election to public office or retention of a judicial office and thereafter has received a contribution or made an expenditure in support of the candidacy. A person remains a candidate for purposes of this article so long as the candidate maintains a registered candidate committee. A person who maintains a candidate committee after an election cycle, but who has not publicly announced an intention to seek election to public office in the next or any subsequent election cycle, is a candidate for purposes of this article. Section 2(2) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.
Case Name: Romero v. Sandoval
Citation: 685 P.2d 772 (Colo. 1984)
Case Summary: Holding that Secretary of State can look beyond voter registration page to determine residency; statute providing qualifications for public office in the state applies to candidates for all public offices; qualifications must be met “on or before” date that term of office begins; by meeting constitutional requirement of residency 12 months prior to election, candidate automatically satisfies the statutory requirement that qualifications be met “on or before” the date the term begins; and the statute does not conflict with constitutional requirement that, for office of state representative or senator, person must meet residency requirement prior to election.
Case Name: Hanlen v. Gessler
Citation: 333 P.3d 41 (Colo. 2014)
Case Summary: Holding that Secretary of State acted in excess of his rulemaking authority in making rule that permitted designated election official to determine, after ballots had been printed, that an individual appearing on the ballot was not qualified for office, and directed that votes cast for that individual were invalid.
Case Name: Figueroa v. Speers
Citation: 343 P.3d 967 (Colo. 2015)
Case Name: Conte v. Meyer
Citation: 882 P.2d 962 (Colo. 1994)
Case Summary: Holding that petition nominating councilperson as independent candidate for state representative satisfied the legislative intent of the statute regarding the petition filing deadline; petition was both accurate and sufficient; and councilperson was an eligible candidate.
Case Name: Campbell v. Buckley
Citation: 11 F. Supp. 2d 1260 (D. Colo. 1998)
Federal District Court: District of Colorado
Case Summary: The evidence and arguments presented failed to demonstrate that the burdens imposed by the single-subject scheme are of a character or magnitude sufficient to trigger exacting review. Furthermore, Colorado's regulatory interests in preventing voter fraud and ensuring a modicum of support for measures placed on its ballot justify the reasonable and nondiscriminatory burdens the scheme imposes on Plaintiffs' rights of political expression and association and reject Plaintiffs' first amendment claim. Also holding that a rational basis exists for the disparate treatment of measures initiated by citizens and those referred by the General Assembly, and reject Plaintiffs' equal protection claim as well.